- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What Does God say about divisions in our society?
We have separated ourselves by race, gender, religion, political party, and on and on. Why? What do we gain by doing this? What does God have to say about divisions?
Jesus prayed for all of us to be one in Him, as He is one with the Father, Jn 17:20-22, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:” Is God not saying there is one eternal family and His word is being preached so that all may have the opportunity to find Him in it? His offer of eternal life as part of His family goes out to all of us, no matter the color of our skin, or any other immaterial differences we may perceive. The key is not that we are all different in some way; the key is that we are all the same in many more ways. When we allow these artificial divisions to separate us, we are all weakened. The devil uses these divisions to keep us from coming together to reason on the important issues, which would lead us to love one another, Eccl 4:12, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” God is not creating all the artificial divisions that exist in our lives. He is asking us to lay them down at the foot of the cross. He wants us to learn that He is love, 1 Jn 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” and that we should love the way He loves, unconditionally, Jn 15:12, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” His unconditional love for us is the reason He is able to give us free will; He is asking us to choose to be part of His family. Separating ourselves means we choose to live our own way, or one of the many other ways the devil has established to lead us away from God, instead of His way; and the peace and joy it brings. He has warned us against going our own way, Prov 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
God does not want us preaching another gospel, only the one Jesus brought us, for anything else leads to divisions, 1 Cor 1:10-13, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” Is Jesus divided? Where do we find Jesus telling us His church should be divided? Why would we follow any other voice? Acts 4:19, “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” Who is kinder, who is more forgiving? Who loves us more? We should be looking for the things that unite us, and fellowship over these things.
God does not call us to contention, Tit 3:9-11, “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” Why would we choose to argue about the things we do not fully understand? Is He not telling us these kinds of arguments lead us to divisions and that we only condemn ourselves when we use His Words to create stumbling blocks for our brethren? Instead, He asks us to reason with Him and discuss our differences without offending those with differing opinions. Then, each of us can depart and think about those differing opinions, to see if they soften our view on a subject, or even change it. This is the reasoning He calls us to, Is 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” But, to reason this way, we must be humble, not vain, for our humility allows us to change our opinions. God’s Word never changes, only our understanding of it, Matt 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
Does God not call us to care for those we feel are unworthy? 1 Cor 12:23-26, “And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” Is God not asking us to avoid judging whether others are honorable enough? Can we stand by and watch any person suffer and do nothing? Would there be a need for divisions if we all followed God’s calling? Is God not asking us to consider our judging of others to be less honorable, and that it is no more than our arrogant behavior attempting to elevate ourselves at the expense of others? Where does God ask us to judge others? Matt 7:1-2, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Can we not see how our judgments lead us to divisions and ultimately to being judged? Like the early white settlers acceptance of black slavery leading some blacks today to hate whites. What does either of these groups gain from judging each other? We should love and respect others, no matter the differences our partially closed eyes see. We should open our eyes to God’s Word and love everyone. There will be plenty of time in eternity to ponder that which we do not understand if we would only accept His offer and become part of His family.
Col 3:12-15, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Is God not telling us we are one body united by one Spirit and that when we accept this truth we will live in peace, we will be humble, meek, longsuffering and always ready to forgive? Does forgiveness destroy the walls we create to divide ourselves? Will we see that those differences/divisions we imagine are nothing more than illusions, brought to us by the father of all lies, Jn 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” God only speaks the truth, and it never changes, Numb 23:19, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” and Is 40:8, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” When we reflect His love, all of our perceived divisions will dissolve away.
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